University graduate now standing strong as a cover supervisor in Barnsley

As a promising university graduate, Paul Wrend was left “sulking in his sorrows” after almost a year of being turned down for jobs.

It all started about 3 years ago when Paul left the University with a master’s degree in Philosophy, and decided to take some out time out abroad in Japan.

When Paul, aged 25, came back to England and moved back in with his family in Barnsley, he ended up spending a “rough” nine months searching for a full-time job to support himself.

Paul said: “It was sorry you don’t have the experience we’re looking for, or I’m very sorry you haven’t made it to the next stage of interviewing, things like that.

“I certainly felt like I went to university, I did my degree, I got my masters and I couldn’t achieve anything after that. I felt completely useless.”

Eventually, Paul started worked night shifts on a temporary basis providing administration support, where he ended up hearing about Barnsley’s Educational and Learning Support Hub (ELSH) – which teaches refugees and migrants English.

Excited about the prospect, Paul joined ELSH in a classroom position helping out with teaching as a volunteer, and eventually took over a classroom himself as a teacher.

Sadly with the role being voluntary, Paul still struggled without any income.

That all changed when he was introduced to Helen Murphy, a coach from our Employment and Skills Service who is responsible for giving Athersley’s coalfield communities a helping hand with their career.

Paul said: “She helped me to stop sulking in my sorrows, and realise it’s not going to be any help sat going I can’t get a job.”

“It’s a really good and noble thing which coalfields are trying to do, breathe life back into the area, because a lot of people don’t have chances now and there’s no support for them. They’re trying to put that back in place.”

Helen added: “When I first met Paul we sat down and found out about what he’d been up to, his experience, and where he wanted his career to take him.

“It quickly became clear that although Paul showed a lot of promise as a teacher, and a passion for helping others, he lacked the qualifications employers were looking for to land a paid role in teaching. “

She started looking into Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL); a 190 hour course mixing classroom and online learning which leads to a world-recognised qualification in teaching English to non-native speakers.

Without any income himself, Paul was unable to come up with the £170 needed to pay for the course, but the Trust was able to give him the financial support he needed to take that next step in his career.

“The course was really useful. It had a lot of resources for me to look at once I was done with the course, and it gave me a lot of guidance teaching English I could apply to my work at ELSH.”

Shortly after the course, Paul was contacted by a company recruiting cover supervisors (more commonly known as supply teachers).

Following a successful interview, Paul now works in different schools across South Yorkshire, teaching subjects like geography, french, maths, science and IT.

He has been really enjoying the role, and said that: “it’s really rewarding when you came across subjects that are very difficult, and you explain it, and you can see the gears turning and this realisation that they understand what you mean.”

Paul now has aspirations to progress onto higher level courses in the future, including the level 4 and 5 TEFL courses – which provide training for teaching businesses and university students.

If you think our Employment and Skills Service could help you take that next step towards a better career, get in touch on 01226 270800.

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